Law in California
California’s Vehicle Code contains the laws for motorcycle accidents and unlike other states, our laws are extremely complex. One example is that California motorcyclists are able to engage in “lane splitting,” also known as “white lining.” Other states do not allow this, so consulting with an experienced attorney is key when dealing with an accident.
Do I Need an Attorney?
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, consulting a personal injury lawyer is essential. Motorcycle traffic laws are incredibly complex. Insurance companies typically do not value motorcycle operators the way they should.
There is also a great deal of prejudice against bikers by car and truck vehicle operators and their insurance companies. Even if a motorcyclist has done nothing wrong, they will typically not be fully compensated.
An attorney who regularly handles motorcycle crash cases will be able to persuade an insurance company or a jury of the value of your case and the entitlement to full compensation. Furthermore, a good attorney will not hold the same prejudices many have of motorcycle riders.
The Legal Process Involved in a Motorcycle Collision Claim
Bike accident cases start with an in-take where we determine the resulting injuries, severity of injury, what kind of medical treatment is needed and who was at fault for the accident.
After this process, we will try to resolve the case informally. If this is not possible, we will file a lawsuit.
After filing a lawsuit, both parties engage in ‘discovery’ which is the exchange of information both in writing and orally. Once discovery of the witnesses is complete, we will engage in discovery of the experts that will set the foundation for the case.
Experts will testify as to the scope of the damages incurred. Additionally, an expert will reconstruct how the accident occurred. After discovery, the parties will usually try to settle the case. If this is not possible, the case will go to trial.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycle crashes are often caused by drivers who are distracted. Motorcycles are smaller than other motor vehicles on the road and drivers often do not check their blind spots or fail to notice motorcyclists who may be traveling legally according to our state’s laws. Drivers who are not paying attention often change lanes without looking for motorcyclists who may be out of their direct sight and collide with them.
What to Do After an Accident
After an accident, it is important to get information from all the individuals present at the scene of the accident. This includes witnesses, the other driver and any passengers. By using a cell phone, you can take pictures of their IDs and insurance cards. Additionally, you should get photos of the accident scene, including any property damage that occurred.
The police should be called so that they can take statements and compile a police report.
One of the things you should not do is talk to the other side’s insurance company. The insurance company wants to obtain a statement that will help them pay less compensation for your injuries. They are not looking out for your best interest, and you should not speak to them.
If you are injured, it is imperative that you visit a doctor – whether it is an urgent care facility, the emergency room, or your primary care physician. Getting prompt medical care will ensure that you have documentation of your injuries – as they were right after the accident.
Insurance Companies that Try to Settle
You should not accept a settlement from an insurance company without first talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our firm offers free consultations in order to help evaluate whether the insurance company is making a fair offer.
Insurance companies often take advantage of people who have been injured and who do not have counsel. All too often, they will lowball an offer. If you have been offered a settlement by the other side’s insurance company, do not accept it until you first talk to an experience personal injury attorney.
Why Choose Carpenter, Zuckerman, and Rowley
Our firm has litigated numerous motorcycle accidents and understands how to overcome prejudices juries and insurance companies have against motorcycle wreck cases. Additionally, we know how to evaluate an accident scene to determine who is at fault. Too often, there is an inclination to blame the motorcyclist without a fair evaluation of what actually happened.
Carpenter, Zuckerman, and Rowley understands the complexity of motorcycle laws and aim to help accident victims obtain necessary medical care for their injuries. We want you to get better, not just get money from the party at fault.
Contact our law firm now for a free consultation to discuss your bike accident at (213) 514-8332.